Morrowind is the northeastmost province of the Tamrielic Empire, bounded on the north and east by the ocean, on the west by Skyrim, on the southwest by Cyrodiil (also known as the Imperial Province), and on the south by Black Marsh (also known as Argonia). Vvardenfell District consists of the island of Vvardenfell, surrounded by the Inland Sea, and dominated by the titanic volcano Red Mountain and its associated ash wastelands. Only recently open to settlement and trade, most of the island's population is confined to the relatively hospitable west and southwest coast, centered around the ancient city of Vivec and the old Great House district centers at Balmora, Ald'ruhn, and Sadrith Mora. The rest of the island is covered by hostile desert wastes, arid grasslands, and volcanic badlands, and thinly populated by the nomadic Ashlander tribes.
Three major cultural groupings have settled Vvardenfell: the Ashlander nomads, the Imperial Provincial culture, and the Dunmer Great House culture. The smallest settlements are the Ashlander nomadic camps, comprised of small portable huts. Recent Imperial colonies like Pelagiad display the same sturdy half-timbered homes and stone castles as might be found in Daggerfall or any other Western province.
The three Dunmer Great Houses that have settled Vvardenfell have distinctive architectures and lifestyles. Aristocratic, warlike Great House Redoran favors a spacious, irregular, organic building style. Great House Hlaalu, an aggressive mercantile culture, strongly admiring and influenced by Imperial culture, prefers simpler, more modern, more densely populated settlements, while bizarre wizard towers dominate mushroom-hut villages of the Great House Telvanni sorcerer-lords. A fourth Great House style, the Velothi or Temple style, is evident in the monumental architecture, bridges, buttresses, and grand canals of the ancient religious center of Vivec City.
Politics & Religion
Vvardenfell District's Grand Council, presided over by the sovereign Lord Vedam Dren, Duke of Ebonheart and Vvardenfell, is dominated by five interest groups: the three Great Houses, the Temple, and the Imperial colonists. The Temple and House Redoran are champions of ancient Dunmer customs and privileges, and uncompromising and intolerant worshippers of the native religion call the Tribunal Temple, which venerates three immortal god-kings -- Lord Vivec, Lord Sotha Sil, and Lady Almalexia. The Imperial colonists and House Hlaalu find common cause in their shared tastes for progress, tolerant polytheism, free trade, and vigorous exploitation of Vvardenfell's untapped resources. The policies of House Telvanni's sorcerer-lords are completely unpredictable, whimsically allying with or opposing one faction or another for their own obscure reasons.
Challenges & Opportunities
Vardenfell's greatest challenges are its mutually hostile cultures, its cruel and untamed wildernesses, and the troubling phenomenon of the Blight. The Temple and traditional Dunmer cultures are in direct opposition to the values of the Imperial conqueror's colonists, and the interests of each Great House conflict with the interests of the other Great Houses. Only the unquestioned military dominance of the Imperial Legions and the shrewd policies of the Duke prevent political disputes from expanding into civil unrest or warfare. Even the Legions, however, cannot extend their protection into the sparsely inhabited wastelands of Vvardenfell, where bandits, necromancers, witches, fiends, and grotesque monstrosities find refuge, emerging to threaten the lives of explorers, colonists, and traders. The greatest, and most obscure, threat is the Blight, a mysterious weather-like phenomenon that emanates from the crater of Dagoth Ur, warping and poisoning creatures in its path, and creating diseased horrors that attack travelers and outlying settlements.
The greatest opportunities of Vardenfell lie in its untapped wealth, its rich mines and ancient treasures, its unexplored and unclaimed lands. And even its threats represent limitless opportunity to any bold adventurer determined enough to fight and scheme his way to distinction, earning the attention of the great lords and wizards of Morrowind.